Over recent years, the popularity of sports and energy drinks has skyrocketed. About half of the teens and young adults in America drink energy drinks, and more than half consume at least one sports drink in a day. With boasts of increased performance, endurance, and energy levels, one can understand why these drinks are so popular. According to recent studies, however, these beverages can also add increased risk of tooth decay to the list of advertised effects. Celina and Prosper dentist Dr. Angela Ganjoor explores how these much-celebrated energy boosters and thirst quenchers affect your oral health.
A Tooth-Destroying Trend
A popular misconception about sports and energy drinks is that they are a much healthier choice for your teeth than soda. To test this theory, researchers studied the acidity of a variety of popular beverages. During the study, scientists immersed samples of tooth enamel in each beverage for 15 minutes, placed the samples in artificial saliva for two hours, and repeated the cycle four times a day for five days. The exposure cycles mimicked the amount of exposure a typical sports and energy drink consumer subjects their teeth to. After only five days, the damage was already evident, with energy drinks proving doubly harmful to teeth than the more balanced sports drinks.
Would You Like an Acid Bath?
Sports and energy drinks contain many things, but the main area of concern involves their low pH, which equals a high acidity level. Acids attack your tooth enamel, the strong, translucent substance that coats and protects the outer surfaces of your teeth. Enamel cannot repair itself, but because it consists mainly of mineral crystals, it can strengthen itself when weakened by absorbing additional minerals (i.e., calcium and phosphate). When acid attacks, however, it saps these minerals from your teeth, rendering your enamel helpless. Weakened tooth enamel allows bacteria access to the inner tissues of the tooth, which easily fall victim to bacterial infection when exposed. Tooth decay usually follows shortly thereafter.
Dr. Ganjoor advises steering clear of these beverages, but you do not have to completely boycott them to save your teeth. Drink them in moderation, but quickly to minimize the time that their acidic contents are in contact with your teeth. Rinse your mouth with water after each beverage as well to neutralize the acid in your mouth. For more information on nutrition and your oral health, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ganjoor at our Prosper dentist office by calling (214) 851-0130. We serve patients of all ages from Celina, Prosper, McKinney, Frisco, Anna, Pilot Point, and the surrounding areas.